Powell’s Ring of Honor TV Review: The Briscoes and Punishment Martinez vs. So Cal Uncensored, Jonathan Gresham challenges Bully Ray to a wrestling match, Sumie Sakai vs. Tasha Steelz in a Proving Ground match

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Ring of Honor TV
Taped August 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired in syndication on September 15 and Mondays on the FITE TV app

The opening video aired and then the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in and noted that the ROH Death Before Dishonor is less than two weeks away. ROH Champion Jay Lethal made his entrance while Riccaboni hyped The Briscoes and Punishment Martinez vs. So Cal Uncensored, and Women of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai in a Proving Ground match. The broadcast team also ran through some of the Death Before Dishonor matches.

Lethal stood in the ring with the ROH Title belt over his shoulder. He said people ask him a lot which match in ROH has been his favorite. He said it makes him think back to his matches against Roderick Strong, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles. Lethal said there’s a new one to add to the list. He said that after last week’s main event, he can now say that his favorite match in ROH is his Iron Man match against Jonathan Gresham.

Lethal said the match reminded him of what the company is built on and why he fell in love with ROH. He said you don’t need storylines or angles, you just need two great wrestlers in one ring to prove who the best is. An ROH chant broke out. Lethal said Gresham earned his respect and is a good friend. He added that he wants to have more matches like that for the ROH Championship.

Lethal announced that he was issuing a “Lethal Challenge” to any wrestler in any locker room. “If you feel like you have mastered your craft, if you feel like you’re the best technical wrestler, if you feel like you’re the best high flier then this is for you,” Lethal said. “And listen up because I’m only going to say this once. Boys, come and get it.” Lethal held up the ROH Title.

Will Ospreay appeared on the big screen. He asked if Jay Lethal remembers him. Ospreay said he’s back and he wants something. Ospreay said he wants to take ROH on his back and in order to do that he has to go through Lethal and win the ROH Title. Ospreay challenged Lethal to a match at the Death Before Dishonor event. Lethal said there’s a saying that be careful for what you wish for or you just might get it. He said he prefers the other saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Lethal accepted the challenge…

SCU members Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky delivered a promo in front of the ROH screen. Sky said he was happy to get involved now that Punishment Martinez has stuck his nose in their business. Daniels said he couldn’t have said it better himself… [C]

Powell’s POV: Lethal spoke with the confidence and poise of a strong champion. He came off very well here. The Ospreay video was a bit low budget and hard to understand. Nevertheless, that gives the pay-per-view a must see match that it was really lacking unless the big spot-fest ten-man tag match is up your alley.

The Briscoes and Martinez delivered a brief promo from an undisclosed location to hype the main event…

1. WOH Champion Sumie Sakai vs. Tasha Steelz in a Proving Ground match. Brandi Rhodes sat in on commentary for the match. Steelz was arrogant before the bell. She shook Sakai’s hand, but then threw a kick that Sakai caught. Sakai went on the offensive and Steelz rolled to the floor. Sakai followed and ended up being run into the barricade. Back in the ring, Sakai regained control and connected with a clothesline and a running knee. Sakai followed up with a neckbreaker for a two count. She performed a missile dropkick for another two count. Sakaiset up for her finisher, but Steelz avoided it and performed a clunky springboard bulldog for a two count. Sakai came right back and hit her Smash Mouth finisher and scored the pin…

Sumie Sakai pinned Tasha Steelz.

Riccaboni noted that he would interview Sakai after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A nice showcase for Sakai, and Steelz showed a nice heel swagger to go along with good athleticism. I don’t believe Riccaboni ever explained what a Proving Ground match is. I really enjoy his work and he’s usually good about this, but all play-by-play voices should assume that there are new fans watching the show who are not familiar with the company’s lingo. For those who don’t know, if a champion loses a Proving Ground match then the winner will get a future title shot.

Cody, Marty Scurll, the Young Bucks, and Adam Page delivered a backstage promo. Scurll said Chaos is the least popular group in all of Japan. Cody said that chubby little Tomohiro Ishii came come to Las Vegas and enjoy the buffet, but Chaos is no match for Bullet Club…

Riccaboni interviewed Sakai in the ring and noted that she’s defended the title in the United States and the United Kingdom. Riccaboni announced that the title will now be known as the Women of Honor World Championship. Riccaboni asked her for a reaction to her win. She acknowledged that she speaks broken English. The crowd cheered her. She said this is her home and on one can understand how happy she is. She said she wants to face Tenille Dashwood.

Dashwood made her entrance. Dashwood said she respects Sakai and she’s the foundation of WOH, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to take the title from around her waist. Riccaboni announced Sakai vs. Dashwood for the WOH Championship at Death Before Dishonor…

Kenny King delivered a promo in front of the ROH backdrop. He said that after he takes care of Page he looks forward to taking down Jushin Liger…

Riccaboni interviewed Jonathan Gresham in the ring and asked him what’s next after he came so close to winning the ROH Championship on last week’s show. Bully Ray walked out before Gresham could say much. Bully entered the ring and got in Riccaboni’s face. He said Colt Cabana wasn’t there to protect Riccaboni. He dared him to say everything to his face that he says on commentary. Riccaboni said he doesn’t want any trouble. Bully told Riccaboni to leave the ring and he complied.

Gresham approached Ray from behind and said something. Bully repeated that Gresham said he interrupted his interview. Ray said he would interview Gresham. He asked Gresham if he knows who he is, then said of course he does and took credit for “singlehandedly” selling out Madison Square Garden for the company. Ray brought up the old Piper’s Pit when Roddy Piper interviewed Frankie Williams. He pointed at Gresham and said Williams was the jobber. Ray said he wasn’t saying it to be disrespectful, he was saying it because it was true.

Ray said that if the fans truly loved Gresham then they would have given him a standing ovation when he made his entrance. Ray played to the crowd by saying they weren’t doing it. Some fans stood and applauded and chanted Gresham’s name. Gresham said he knows Ray is looking for a fight and he can’t hang with him in a fight. Gresham instead challenged Ray to a wrestling match and said he knew he could win that because he watched D-Von Dudley carry Bully’s ass for 20 years. The fans popped and chanted for D-Von.

Gresham said that if he beats Ray in the building he helped create then he wants him to stand in the middle of the ring and shake his hand like a man. Ray took the mic and called for a referee. Todd Sinclair ran out and the match was on…

2. Bully Ray vs. Jonathan Gresham. The bell rang and Bully kicked Gresham in the balls. Ray shoved Sinclair to the mat. Ray grabbed a mic and then shook Gresham’s hand while Gresham was lying on the match. “Well, I guess you’re the better wrestler, Mr. Gresham.” Bully hit Gresham with the chain that he brings to the ring.

Jonathan Gresham beat Bully Ray by an apparent DQ.

Flip Gordon ran out and threw punches at Ray, who cut him off with a big boot to the head. Jay Lethal ran out and worked over Ray with punches. Silas Young ran out and pulled off Lethal, then put him down with his Misery finisher. Ray smiled while Riccaboni questioned whether Ray and Young are on the same Page. Ray went for a hug, but Young shoved him and left the ring…

Powell’s POV: Real Men don’t hug! Bully should know this. Anyway, this was a really good angle. My only complaint is that Gresham keeps talking about how he can win wrestling matches that are fought in his pure wrestling style. He conceded that Ray would beat him in a fight. I get what they are going for, but a great wrestler is naturally competitive in a fight, so it makes him look weak that he needs special rules. That said, I really enjoyed this. Bully was his usual great self on the mic and the confrontation with Lethal was really well received. The Silas twist was fun as just about the time I thought they were going to unite he shoved Bully and walked away.

Backstage, Jay Lethal paced back and forth until Jonathan Gresham walked through the curtain. Lethal asked if the camera that was shooting them was rolling. Lethal said Gresham is a great wrestler and he doesn’t need his help, but he’s sick of Bully sticking his nose in other people’s business. Lethal also vented about Silas. Gresham said this isn’t what ROH was built on or what he grew up on. Lethal challenged Ray and Young to meet him and Gresham in a tag match next week…

Powell’s POV: Lethal did more to put over Gresham’s ability in a few words than Gresham did earlier. This was a good promo for both men and I love the episodic build to next week’s show.

The broadcast team ran through the Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view lineup. They set up a video package on the Punishment Martinez vs. Chris Sabin match for the ROH TV Title. It included new comments from Sabin, who said Martinez is trying to play mind games with him by attacking Alex Shelley. Sabin said the actions of Martinez show that he’s insecure and worried. Sabin said all of his money is on himself in Las Vegas and he’s walking out the ROH TV Champion. “Chris Sabin rules!” Sabin yelled while sticking his fist out…

Powell’s POV: Chris Sabin rules? Cheesy.

Ring entrances for the main event took place. Sabin sat in on commentary with Riccaboni and Coleman… [C]

3. Punishment Martinez, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe vs. “So Cal Uncensored” Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky. SCU attacked the heels to start the match. The ring was filled with streamers and all six wrestlers brawled before it eventually settled into a standard six-man tag match. The heel trio dominated Daniels for a stretch heading into a break. [C]

Daniels eventually made a hot tag to Sky, who went on an offensive flurry. Late in the match, Jay entered the ring with a chair and swung at Kazarian, who ducked, leading to the referee taking the chair shot. Martinez threw the chair into the face of Kazarian and then caught Daniels with a kick. Jay threw a chair at the face of Sky.

Sabin said it’s broken down in the best way possible. Huh? Sabin then asked, “What’s he doing?” Sabin left the broadcast table and ended up fighting with Martinez to the back, leaving the heels shorthanded. Daniels and Kazarian it the Best Meltzer Ever on Mark, leading to Kazarian getting the pin…

Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky defeated Punishment Martinez, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe.

Riccaboni hyped Keny King vs. Adam Page, Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham vs. Bully Ray and Silas Young, and a Top Prospect tournament match for next week’s show…

Powell’s POV: How long will they continue to book the Top Prospect tournament matches when no one advances because Jeff Cobb interferes each time? Anyway, the main event was fine. The Martinez vs. Sabin feud isn’t doing much for because Sabin is such a vanilla babyface, but perhaps this feud will do something to change that. The highlight of the show as the angle with Bully Ray, Jonathan Gresham, Jay Lethal, and Silas Young. They did a nice job of following up on last week’s Gresham vs. Lethal match in a way that spotlighted Gresham, and it’s good to see that will continue next week. I will be by later today or tomorrow with my audio review of this show.


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